Developing antiretroviral therapy for AIDS


Antiretroviral drugs stave off the development of AIDS and prolong survival.


Where antiretroviral therapy is widely available, it has increased the incentive for people at high risk of HIV to get tested, since the earlier they start taking the drugs the better. This means that a substantial proportion of HIV infections are detected relatively early on in most industrialized countries.


Some countries in Latin America provide antiretroviral treatment for people infected with HIV. Brazil, for example, spent some US$300 million in 1999, providing drugs for around 75 000 people. While the treatment is clearly expensive, health officials say that savings in episodes of hospitalization and medical care for patients go a long way towards justifying the cost of drugs which stave off the progression of HIV/AIDS. Without antiretroviral therapy, many more people with HIV would develop opportunistic infections associated with a damaged immune system. It is estimated that over a one-year period between 1997 and 1998, Brazil averted around US$ 136 million in hospital admission and treatment costs alone for people with HIV.


There is extremely worrying evidence that the advent of life-prolonging therapies may have led to complacency about the dangers of HIV, and that that complacency may be leading to rises in risky behaviour.

Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal